If you’re lucky, you’ve probably forgotten all about Sunday’s Super Bowl and the ads that came along with it. (Unless, of course, you’re a Patriots fan.)
However, amidst ads featuring chunky milk and Charlie Sheen calling out the Planters Peanut for being “nuts,” there was one that continues to stand out, if not for the right reasons: The Washington Post and its tribute to journalism narrated by Tom Hanks.
There weren’t too many surprises in the ad. It’s journalists telling us how important they are.
It tried to link The Post’s journalism with D-Day, civil rights marches and the first man to the moon. (I always thought those were carried out by American and allied soldiers, civil rights marchers and NASA’s brilliant scientists and brave astronauts, respectively, but apparently the WaPo wants journalism to get some credit for them.)
Then there was the part featuring journalists who were missing or have been killed — including Saudi Arabian dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi — who were missing or killed.
Then came the end of the smug advertisement: “Knowing empowers us,” Hanks said. “Knowing helps us decide. Knowing keeps us free.”
A shot of the Statue of Liberty transitioned into a screen showing The Post’s logo and its Trump-era slogan, “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”
A Twitter user with the handle Carpe Donktum decided to have a little fun with the ad, giving it a bit of a MAGA twist.
The results are hilarious.
Before we begin, we have to note that Mr. Donktum has some questionable friends on the right. He includes some of them in the video. We’ll leave it at that. That doesn’t make the video any less hilarious, particularly given the swiftness with which it was put together. It maintains the Hanks narration, although everything else is pure genius.
“When we go off to war…” Hanks’ narration intones. Instead this time, it’s spoken over footage of leftists doing property damage in place of the D-Day landing from the original commercial.
“When we exercise our rights…” And with it, a county map of the 2016 election, showing just how much geographic territory Donald Trump carried in place of the civil rights march.
“When we soar to our greatest heights…” Cue Trump clapping.
“When we mourn and pray…” An image of the late Breitbart News founder Andrew Breitbart fills the screen.
“When our neighbors are at risk…” Instead of fires, MS-13.
“When our nation is threatened…” The border being pelted with rocks.
It goes on in that vein. The video closes with InfoWars’ Alex Jones giving one of his declarations, followed by the tagline, “Fake News Dies in Sunshine.”
Well, it certainly beats the self-mythologizing nonsense we saw during Super Bowl LIII on Sunday, and it beats it by a very wide margin.
Considering a 30-second ad for the Super Bowl ran to about $5.25 million, according to CNBC, this one-minute self-tribute by The Washington Post likely meant the newspaper spent approximately $10 million trying to convince us just how important they are. The subtext of the whole thing was simple: Don’t you dare call us “fake news,” Trump supporters.
It’s a difficult thing to control the reaction something creates, however, and what most viewers seemed to take away was that this was an indulgent stunt that had little to do with advancing actual journalism.
Washington Free Beacon editor David Rutz ran the math:
$5.25 million could pay for 10 journalists making $50,000 a year for 10 years. https://t.co/QtT0CLYJzX
— David Rutz (@DavidRutz) February 3, 2019
But why do that when you can virtue-signal on the world’s largest stage?
Thankfully, someone was able to deconstruct it and come up with a hilarious counterpoint — and it certainly didn’t take millions of dollars to create or air.
He didn’t even have to hire Tom Hanks, and we’re still laughing.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.